The two-state solution is a fantasy, or worse, a construction created by people who know very well that it is a non-solution in order to hide their real intentions.
Here’s the fairy tale: Israel and the Palestinians will agree on borders, Israel will withdraw from the Palestinian part, the Palestinians, happy to have a state, will stop terrorism. With an end to the conflict will come prosperity, which will marginalize ‘extremists’. With an end to the occupation, friction between the sides will be reduced, and ultimately normal relations will exist between the two states. Jews and Arabs will live happily ever after.
President Bush and every candidate for the US Presidency claim to accept this. Ehud Olmert and Mahmoud Abbas claim to be trying to achieve this. Tony Blair says he is working toward this end. It’s just a matter of ironing out the details.
Hamas is the only honest player in this game. Hamas is quite clear about its goals, the destruction of the state of Israel, the liquidation or expulsion of its Jewish inhabitants, and the unification of Palestine under a fundamentalist Islamic regime, from the river to the sea.
Let’s look at the goals of the various other players, who are less transparent:
Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad, the ‘official’ Palestinian Authority (PA) government: They want Israel out of as much territory as possible and they wish to receive as much aid, both in dollars and weapons, as possible. But are their long-term policies consistent with the fantasy?
No, because there will not be an end to the conflict. The PA’s position is that it does not and will not recognize Israel as a Jewish state, and that roughly 5 million refugee descendants have a ‘right of return’ to Israel. What they are offering is to create a Palestinian state in the West Bank, and a temporarily binational state in what used to be Israel proper, which will soon dissolve into civil war. This is not a question of ironing out details.
Add to this the facts that 1) they do not control the terrorists in their own ranks, 2) aid money is not used to build infrastructure or alleviate poverty, but rather to enrich the leadership and their clans, and 3) they cannot prevent a Hamas takeover as happened in Gaza, and we see that they can’t be the partner envisaged in the two-state fantasy.
Ehud Olmert: The Prime Minister of Israel and his government wish, above all, to stay in office. They know full well that no acceptable agreement can be made with the PA, and that even if there were such an agreement the PA would not be able to live up to it. They know also that Hamas can’t be ignored and would quickly take over the West Bank if the IDF were to withdraw. So they pretend to negotiate and leak hints of progress to mollify the Americans.
The US: The State Department understands that a PA-Israel “peace agreement” would at best damage Israel’s security and at worst lead to war. But it is concerned with American interests, not Israeli ones — ‘Jewish conspiracy’ theorists eat your hearts out — and the American interest is perceived to be to force Israel back to pre-1967 borders, supposedly because this will improve relations with the Arab states. So the US continues to work toward this goal, while studiously ignoring what will happen afterwards. Any agreement that will get Israel out of the West Bank will be fine with the US.
Of course the real American interest is a strong Israel which is the only Middle Eastern state that shares a commitment to democracy and quite possibly the only one that is immune to being taken over tomorrow by Islamic fundamentalists. But years of corruption by Saudi ‘preemptive bribes‘ (and possibly plain old bribes) have done much to push real American interests aside in the halls of the State Department and the CIA.
If a peaceful solution is possible despite at least 100 years of anti-Jewish incitement and hate from the Arab world, 14 years of Arafat-inspired PA ‘education’ for war, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his plans to wipe out Israel by way of Hezbollah, Hamas, and some day nuclear weapons, it can’t come from fantasy.
But nobody seems to want to talk about reality.